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Entries in Costume Design (119)

Sunday
Feb162014

14 Days Til Oscar: "All About Titanic"

[Our countdown to Hollywood's High Holy Night continues. Here's abstew with a fun "battle"]

We've only 14 days to go. It seemed like the perfect time to take a look at the two films that jointly hold the record for most nominations (in case you hadn't guessed, that would be 14). One is a fabulous Actressexual's dream about back-stabbing in the theatre world and the other a small indie about a boy and girl in love. Oh, yeah and something about a ship. 

Technically, Titanic holds a higher place in Oscar history, having won 11 of its 14 nominations while All About Eve went home with only six statues (though 12 was the most it could have won with double-nods in Lead and Supporting Actress). But haven't you always wondered what film would come out victorious if they had gone head-to-head?  No? Well, let's find out anyway

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Friday
Feb142014

16 Days Til Oscar: The Costumes of Irene Sharaff

Irene SharaffIf Catherine Martin wins an Oscar this year for her work on The Great Gatsby, she will join prolific costume Designer Orry-Kelly as Australia’s most Oscared individual. If Martin wins both of her nominations? She will become the first Australian to ever win more than three statues (having already won the same two for Moulin Rouge! 12 years ago). We’re not here to talk about Martin, nor Orry-Kelly really, but that’s an interesting statistic nonetheless. One of Orry-Kelly’s wins was for An American in Paris, which he won alongside Walter Plunkett and the main subject of this entry, Irene Sharaff.

Sharaff was a 15-time Oscar nominee for her work as a costume designer and was also nominated once for art direction, which certainly places her as one of the designers' favorites. She doesn’t have the famous name of, say, Edith Head or contemporaries Sandy Powell, but with such a massive nomination haul and a subsequent five awards, she should be recognized as one of the greats. She had one helluva profile, too.

Consider what Irene Sharaff won for: the aforementioned An American in Paris, plus The King and I, West Side Story, Cleopatra and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Consider also the titles for which she wasn’t even nominated: Meet Me in St. Louis, The Best Years of Our Lives, Funny Girl and Mommie Dearest, which was to be her final job and was a deserving contender in spite of the film’s reputation. She designed for Judy Garland, Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, and Susan Sarandon. She's a legend.

Irene Sharaff focused almost primarily on musicals, which perhaps explains why her career declined so dramatically after 1969’s Hello, Dolly! She would receive only one last nomination, for The Other Side of Midnight in 1977 (the film's only nomination anywhere, proving her lasting legacy). Likewise, her collaborations with superstars like Elizabeth Taylor and Barbra Streisand, two actors with infrequent big screen careers, probably didn’t help either. Or perhaps she was just exhausted. She had also won a Tony Award from six nominations. Maybe she just earned herself a quiet retirement, dying in 1993 at the age of 83.

 

  • Woody Allen received his 16th nomination for writing this year. All of his writing nominations have been for original works, too. Alas, we’ve written about him enough lately, wouldn’t you agree?

 

Wednesday
Feb122014

A Year With Kate: Break of Hearts (1935)


Episode 7 of 52 wherein Anne Marie screens all of Katharine Hepburn's films in chronological order. 

In which we ignore the movie for a beauty break

Question: Does anybody know what “Break of Hearts” means? I’m guessing it was 30’s slang for “recycled romance plotline.” Break of Hearts is another tired story which follows the predictable cycle of heartbreak and forgiveness between the Ambitious Girl (Kate) and the Troubled Artist (Charles Boyer). But who cares?

The real joy in this film is the costume design by Bernard Newman, the RKO designer responsible for every bizarrely wonderful dress Ginger Rogers wore in Top Hat and Swingtime. This is the only time Newman costumed Kate, so let us take a moment to appreciate Hepburn’s most enjoyable gowns since that moth number in Christopher Strong. [More...]

 

 

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Monday
Feb102014

20 Days Til Oscar (1993 Flashback)

Today's magic number is... 20! I couldn't find a statistic from this year's race involving the number 20 so what were Oscar fanatics like me (and you if you're weren't an infant) obsessing about 20 years ago in the Oscar race? 1993 was a fairly astonishing film year but there wasn't much drama in the Oscar race. Everyone knew that Tom Hanks and Holly Hunter would win the lead Oscars and the night would be all about Steven Spielberg with multiple wins for both Jurassic Park (recently revisted right here) and Schindler's List. Even Supporting Actor, in what one could argue was its best shortlist ever, didn't contain much drama. Though Ralph Fiennes (Schindler's List)  and Leonardo DiCaprio (What's Eating Gilbert Grape?) were giving major star-is-born performances, it was pretty clear that the industry wanted to honor Tommy Lee Jones for his whole career and for co-starring in a huge hit (The Fugitive).

So was there any drama at all? Why, yes, I'm so glad you asked.

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Friday
Feb072014

Link Vision

Clothes on Film on the suits of The Wolf of Wall Street
The Playlist Snowpiercer directors cut will come to the US in limited release
Vulture guess the Mean Girls line quiz. I scored 12/12 and I only had to use a hint once. 
Variety six college students chosen to deliver Oscars to presenters as "Team Oscar" - Channing Tatum helped handpick them. If this had happened to me in college I would have died of joy. Possibly before the ceremony thereby robbing me of the experience. I hope they survive and love every second of it. 

Jimmy Kimmel Live celebrities reading mean tweets about themselves. My favorites are Sarah Silverman, Tim Robbins, Bob Balaban, John Goodman, and Cate Blanchett
Empire Lots of Captain American Winter Soldier character posters
Coming Soon Johnny Depp and probably Tom Hardy for Black Mass, a true story organized crime drama. That worked terrifically (Donnie Brasco) and fine but not great (Public Enemies) for Depp in the past but at least it's not another cartoon character.  
Bent Philip Seymour Hoffman's key gay roles. I really thought he was awful inFlawless but good clip choice
Peter Knegt shares an awesome press conference moment with Greta Gerwig. Oscar fanatics will need to watch  

I made this and it's remarkably easy to transpose Bettany's face onto The Vision

And Finally...
Some superhero casting news I can actually get behind for a change. It looks like Paul Bettany will be The Vision to Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch in The Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015). Too bad about Aaron Johnson as Quicksilver (although at least he's better than the looks-to-be ghastly interpretation of the character over in X-Men: Days of Future Past)  but one excellent choice, one fine choice and one questionable but better than it could have been choice in a trio of famous characters is a pretty good ratio for superhero casting! So well done Joss Whedon and team. 

P.S. for those who are unaware The Vision is the android husband of The Scarlet Witch (don't ask) who is the sister of Quicksilver who are the children of Magneto. At least that's what they were saying when I read comic books (but they love to rewrite histories).] 

 

Thursday
Feb062014

"Budapest" in Berlin: Fun Press Quotes from the Cast

The 64th Annual Berlinale began today and though The Film Experience can't be there (we're still recovering from Sundance) we are watching from afar. The events began early today with jury introductions and the press conference for Opening Night Gala film Wes Anderson's Grand Budapest Hotel. The conference was fun if not exactly informative. Wes Anderson kept getting questions about the aspect ratio (it's apparently square like a 30s movie) and questions about his influences and where his ideas spring from that he didn't really answer but for generalities. He watched a lot of Ernst Lubitsch for this one and admitted that he loves Stanley Kubrick and his "systems", too, whatever that means. I wouldn't have ever grouped Lubitch and Kubrick, myself, but I'm pleased that someone out there can alchemize them. 

Herewith the best moments featuring Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, and more...

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Monday
Jan272014

Interview: Joanna Scanlan on 'The Invisible Woman' and Working with Icons

Photo via Beige PlusThere's a wonderful little moment in Notes on a Scandal (2006) in which a well meaning but unwelcome teacher by the name of Sue Hodge advises her fellow schoolteachers (played by Dami Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett), who are struggling with their students to "concern yourself with the gems". I'm shamelessly borrowing that line right now to talk about the British actress who utters it, because she is one.

Joanna Scanlan co-wrote and starred in the BBC series Getting On (now enjoying an American remake) and has played witches, nurses, schoolteachers, and more yet she's largely unknown to American audiences. She's got her best cinematic showcase yet in The Invisible Woman as Catherine Dickens, the neglected depressed wife of the famous writer Charles Dickens (Ralph Fiennes). Her husband may neglect her and the Oscar conversation did, too (despite its ostensible purpose being to, well, concern itself with the gems) so we're picking up their slack.

She's remarkable in the movie and though the title does not literally refer to her character, we like to think it has a double meaning. The movie business is not a meritocracy but it there's any justice Joanna Scanlan won't be an 'invisible woman' much longer but will be popping up in more roles worthy of her. I eagerly telephoned her to discuss her role in this Oscar nominated picture (Best Costume Design) and her nifty habit of acting opposite true icons like Dench, Fiennes, Pfeiffer, and Blanchett. 

Our conversation is after the jump...

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